The Absolute 10 Best Day Hikes in the United States
The U.S. is loaded with amazing hiking trails. Thanks in large part to our extensive
National Park system, there are still plenty of places out there where you can surround
yourself with the beauty and majesty of nature-- and challenge your stamina and
From daunting rock climbs to more relaxing forest treks, these day hikes will show you
the best of Americas natural splendor.
These should be on every hikers bucket list. They will blow you away in beauty and
make you feel like you really accomplished something when you get to the top.
Heres our list of the 10 best day hikes in the United States in no particular order. We
promise, you wont be disappointed.
1) Angels Landing - Zion National Park
This hike changed my life and set me on a course that I have never looked back from.
This day hike more them met my expectations and it gave me a hunger to see more of
the United States National Parks.
However, this is not a hike for those afraid of heights.
As you make your way along a narrow strip of rocky trail, the drop on one side is a mere
800 feet, while the other side is a sheer drop of 1200 feet. When explorer Frederick
Fisher first viewed the summit, he is said to have marveled that only an angel could
land on it.
flickr photo by MrConnyBoy https://flickr.com/photos/conwah/14606774421 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
While there are hand cables and
chains along parts of the trail, it is a
true test of nerves. The reward for
those intrepid hikers who brave this
trail are some truly jaw-dropping
views of Zion Canyon.
I have done many day hikes in North America and abroad and this one is still amongst
my top 3. I was freaking out the whole way up the cables portion, but once I got there I
was blown away by the view from all directions.
There really is nothing quite like it with all
the colors and mountains and valleys on
every side of you.
This changed my appreciation for hiking and
after I went on this hike, I rarely wanted to
use my vacation days on city trips, but have opted for beautiful natural destinations like
Utahs incredible Zion National Park. I simply had to see more!
2) Precipice Trail - Acadia National Park
flickr photo by R'lyeh Imaging https://flickr.com/photos/radio_free_rlyeh/15335966547 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
Maine is home to the gorgeous Acadia National Park. Maine is quite a cold destination
in the winter (just below Canada), but when the weather starts to warm up in the spring
and summer, the Acadia National Park starts to really get some visitors. For those
passionate hikers out there, this park and hike is worth the trip.
The Precipice Trail is a 1.5 mile out and back route that will take you on an almost
vertical 1,000 foot climb up the face of Champlain Mountain. Iron rungs, ladders and
rock ledges will help you pull yourself along, but be prepared for an upper body workout.
Youll be surrounded by breathtaking
views of Acadia National Park, and if
youre lucky, you may even spot one of
the peregrine falcons that nest there.
For those outdoor lovers who want to
see an often unexplored part of the
United States, head to Maine and get yourself a lobster roll and see some breathtaking
views at Arcadia National Park.he Hike Here
3) Half Dome - Yosemite National Park
This is by far the most strenuous and challenging day hike in Yosemite Valley. I know
because I have done it and it was a full day to say the least. I think at the end of the
day, I looked at my Fitbit Alta activity tracker and I had hiked almost 20 miles roundtrip
and over 45,000 steps!
It was an exhausting day to say the least.
But it was worth it and I would definitely recommend
you check out this legendary hike and perhaps
Americas favorite and most popular national park.
The trail is a long, steep hike that requires a good 12
hours to complete. It took me around that as we got
there bright and early before 6am and didnt get back
Along the way, youll enjoy the sights of the Vernal and Nevada waterfalls. The
uppermost portion of the trail is essentially a vertical climb up rock face using cables.
This is highly difficult after you have already been on the upward climb all day.
Its not for the faint of heart for those like
myself that are afraid of heights. You just hold
onto the cables and try not to look down.
It can also be difficult and intimidating as you
can only go as fast as the person in front of
you. Hikers squeeze by you coming down
when you are going up (and vice versa)
making it a little nerve racking for those with
big packs and sometimes the limestone
surface is a bit slippery (even without rain).
Thankfully there are wooden planks that you can rest on until you get to the next step
up. So it was a bit nerve racking going up to say the least.
Going back down using those same cables can be even more challenging. And dont
even think about going to the peak if the weather is poor. BUT, all this to say it was and
is worth it!
Why put yourself through this
agony? Because at the top youre at an
elevation of 8,842 feet and you can see
forever. I had a feeling of accomplishment
like never before when I completed this hike
and I can promise you, you will too.
Just make sure to get cable permit well in
advance if you want to do the cable portion
to the peak. They only have limited amounts
of people that they allow to go up to the top
do to the amount of people that come to Yosemite each day, so make sure to grab that
permit well ahead of time.
4) Highline Trail - Glacier National Park
flickr photo by Katie@! https://flickr.com/photos/cliche/6134462812 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
Glacier National Park is almost always listed as one of the most scenic and beautiful
parks in the United States. Its no wonder so many people love it.
The Highline Trail is among the best day hikes Glacier National Park has to offer. It
takes you along the Continental Divide, which is known in this area as the Garden Wall.
flickr photo by D.Taylor in Idaho https://flickr.com/photos/taylordaal/14476512297 shared
under a Creative Commons (BY) license
While there are some narrow sections of the
trail that will require complete focus, youll be
able to enjoy the scenery along the way for
most of this trail. Alpine meadows dotted with
wildflowers and wildlife await your discovery,
so keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep,
mountain goats and marmots.
Personally, Glacier National Park is still on
my bucket list and I am hoping to visit Glacier
this upcoming summer. I have seen and
heard nothing but good things about the beauty of this park and the wonderful trails to
I am positive you will find Glacier National Parks top day hike, the Highline Trail, to be
among your favorites!
5) Longs Peak & Chasm Lake - Rocky Mountain National Park
flickr photo by Bruce Dall https://flickr.com/photos/14480409@N04/15287854328 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
Rocky Mountain National Park is widely popular park in one of the nations most
beautiful states (arguably), Colorado. People flock here in droves to see this beautiful
gem and go on some of the best hikes in America.
The hike begins in dense evergreen forest and ascends to the top of Longs Peak. At
14,259 feet, its the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park!
Youll make your way along a gorge with views of Columbine Falls and Peacock Pool.
Stunning Chasm Lake is your ultimate goal, and to reach it youll make a steep climb up
the headwall, which requires some rock scrambling and route finding.
If you want to get some great fresh air and experience the beauty of Northern Colorado,
check out the Rocky Mountain National Park.More Info On The Hike Here
6) Hoh River Trail - Olympic National Park
flickr photo by rarvesen https://flickr.com/photos/rarvesen/9614663991 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
The Northwestern part of the United States is widely known for its beauty and this park
is no exception. The Olympic National Park can be found in the state of Washingtons
northern peninsula and features some dramatic peaks of the incredible Olympic
This trail is relatively flat, until you reach Glacier Meadow, so you will have plenty of
opportunity to marvel at the magnificent rainforest around you. Stop for a break at the
huge gravel bar that makes up Five Mile Island to enjoy the views and try to spot elk.
flickr photo by daveynin https://flickr.com/photos/daveynin/14964070762 shared under
a Creative Commons (BY) license
Further along, youll be able to see the
enormous glaciers that feed the remarkably
blue Hoh River. This is another great hike
for admiring flora and fauna.
You will be amazed at the beauty of this park and in awe the whole way on the Hoh
For those that havent been to Washington, I thi